Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Beer Review: Ghost Ship

Adnam's gave me Broadside back when I started drinking a beer a week and it was not a good call opn my part to drink it.  Therefore, when looking for a Hallowe'en beer, I was a little wary of trying this out.  But it was cheap-ish and wasn't more Shepherd Neame, which I think I'll like regardless these days.  So it was time to try something new.

Tonight, then, I am drinking Ghost Ship, a pale ale that claims to be 'ghostly' and has an eerie picture of a sailing ship on it, so it can't be all bad.

Upon opening there is a smell that smells like beer.  That is, there's a definite air of hops and an underlying maltiness to it, there is yeast but it is not overpowering or anything like that.  It just is.  The colour is a rich nutty one - the kind one finds on desks from Victorian times - and it puts me in mind of walnut.  It should be inlaid with coloured woods and lined with velvet or something.  Still, there is a carbonation and if you pour it badly you'll end up with massive head that takes a while to clear.

First taste is none too shabby.  It's 4.5% ABV and so it does let you know that straight up.  My overwhelming impression is that this is a spicy little number, so hoppy, and then there's a feeling that its been bittered.  I don't think there's anything citrus like to the beer, but that could be the take away meal having its input.  Overall, there's a spice and there's a swirl of yeast to it, as one would expect I suppose, before the underlying malt smoothes things out as much as it can.  The fizz is a little much, but it is bottled, and so this would probably taste better if it were on draught or something - but I can't vouch for that as I haven't had many beers on draught!

Aftertaste is far from lingering and I found myself a little didappointed at that.  It is a pleasant enough beer and certainly very much inkeeping with the IPAs that I've had over time in this little adventure.  It's not one of my favourites but it does the job for a dark Hallowe'en night after reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader to my daughter.

Best drunk at a moderate pace and probably with a select few.  It doesn't cut the mustard for a full and frank discussion about the merits of taste and aroma and it probably did better with my meal than it would alone.  So drink with food and then move onto something a little more refined if you want to talk about it later.

Monday, 29 October 2012


It's been an odd but generally uplifting day.  Being off work this week means I get to see stuff that I don't normally have chance to see.  In this case seeing my Girlie go to Gym and bounce about the place like she was someone a few years older than she is.  It was awesome to see her enjoying herself so much and doing so well at the various things.

Then she was dancing Swan Lake in the evening because she got a book out of the library about it and wanted to see it.  Tilly showed her a couple of videos on YouTube and then she was off trying to copy them.  I'm not saying that our Girlie is hugely successful or a dancer (she's four for goodness' sake) but I am saying that it was fascinating to see her getting involved with her own ideas.

The flip side was the Boy being a complete arse all day - not satisfied with anything and crying at the drop of a hat.  This would be fine, but with me being home I am first port of call for looking after the Boy.  So, Tilly and Girlie are off doing fun things and having good times and I'm stuck with a tired and grouchy article.

Add to that Tilly telling me that I look too shorn having had a haircut and a quick shave.  I look, apparently, like Voldemort - snake-like.  Thanks Tilly, way to boost my confidence.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Credit where credit is due

I've posted before about Catherine and her support for my habits, indeed, her very successful attempt to create a forum in which I could be dressed and among friends in an acceptable way.  It occurred to me today, whilst trying to open up the lines of communication with friends that I haven't really spoken to in over two years (that's all of my RL friends), that I have never really acknowledged that in anywhere but here, in this blog.  In the spirit of reigniting contact with people I was friends with back in my University days and people with whom I kept in contact until the whole work storm kicked up in November 2010 should I also be considering telling Catherine how much I appreciated the gesture?

Okay, fine, it's me.
It was she who took the best photos and made sure I could get copies of them for my own use.  She even offered to let me borrow the dress that I wore, and the one that I was given to choose from in a brace, if I ever wanted to try it all again.  When Tilly and I first went to see them, which seemed fitting as we had our first proper date in the town where Catherine and Tarquin live, Catherine took Tilly off for a proper 'girl's chat' in which she shared the whole escapade and the pictures.  She offered to lend clothes and more pictures to Tilly should she want to investigate further and added lovely comments about how good I looked and how much it would be a good thing to try again.  All this was brought to mind whilst getting back in contact with people.

Tilly, of course, was a little uncomfortable with all of this and declined to comment further.  What I know of the conversation came from Catherine rather than from Tilly.  Indeed, beyond acknowledging that she had seen the pictures Tilly has never spoken of the conversation at all.  Obviously she was unconvinced by the whole thing and has not yet pursued any of the avenues that were opened by Catherine.  But Catherine has persisted and, as documented in these records, has raised the whole thing a few times since.  She wants a beard and so I suppose it follows that she is fascinated by my own sojourns into bending the genders.

There is also the revelation, if it can be called that, sparked by being at a birthday party today.  Girlie and the Boy were invited to a party held by another homeschooling family.  Chaos reigned.  But not in the sense that one usually associates with chaos.  There was a controlled edge to it, the eldest girl, big sister to the birthday girl, and the Girlie get on like a house on fire, despite the five year age gap.  The Girlie behaves in a manner that befits someone contemporary to the elder sister and they run the show together, with Girlie enjoying a hierarchical position above the eldest boy, who is actually second in power to the middle brother of the birthday girl's family.  It was all very fascinating to watch and to see the interaction between children of different ages and different situations within families.  What struck me, however, was the similarity it had with another birthday that I attended as a child.  At a house I have mentioned before.  Maybe that was where the memory of having my hair brushed came from and the scene of a mother brushing the hair of a blonde girl.  Perhaps the confusion comes from the fact that both occurred and occurred there during a birthday party.  It would explain a lot.

So... Do I tell Catherine how much what she did was appreciated?  I do not believe that I have in the past.  Is it worth that?  Hmm.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Beer Review: Golden Glory

Evening all, I am about to embark on a journey beyond time and space, I've left Crete and entered the Demilitar... I'm quoting Good Morning Vietnam.  This is not a good start.  I'm actually drinking a beer, so it's review time.

Tonight I am drinking Badger's Golden Glory.

With a name like that I should have guessed that this was a summer beer.  I mean, I think the last time I had one of these it was the height of summer and it was long before I started reviewing beers, even in my head, back then I was simply having a different beer every week.  Anyway, it was time to try it properly.  It claimed to be "curiously peachy" on the bottle and boy, was it ever!  On opening there was a definite peach aroma, very strong and easily pllaced.  Not unpleasant, but a little unexpected.  I half expected the taste to be so fruity that I would be drinking juice rather than beer.

However, it wasn't.  At all.  I mean, as you sip it the aroma gets in to the mouth and there is a hint of peach as you close your mouth.  But it is gone, washed away in an instant, by the actual beer itself.  And the beer is rather thin in taste.  I mean, it's 4.5% ABV, so not incredibly weak nor particularly strong.  It's in that zone that I rather like my beers to be in.  But there's, I dunno, not a great deal of depth to it.  It's just... thin.  There's a zestiness to it, certainly, that builds a little and there is a nice element of fizz to it that allows it to dance quite well without stamping on your toes whilst doing so.  But there's no fire in the belly, nothing to grab on to and instead just that smell digging in your ribs as you try desperately to pull this closer to you.

After-taste is interesting, but not a lot else.  There's something to it, a sugary quality I suppose, a sweetness and lightness that speaks of a warm day that needs to be tamed or a nice meadow awash with flowers and humming with beers.  I guess I was expecting something a little heavier, perhaps more honey, than what I got (though in fairness the bottle does not flag up anything that would have made me think so apart from the 'golden' in the title).  It's serviceable and will no doubt serve for me this evening, but it lacked the 'punch' that I suppose I was looking for.

Drink this best in the summer, in the sunshine, on a warm day when you're looking to simply enjoy yourself.  Drink it at whatever speed you wish but make sure you are thirsty first because this is actually a thirst quencher.  Enjoy the smell, the pungent peach, because that is easily the best quality of this particular beer.  It's like Rose wine - unobtrusive and light, the perfect accompaniment to a light lunch of salad and some croutons.  Have a good dressing with those rocket leaves, bring in some toasted french loaf and a small amount, the barest hint, of brie.  Cross your legs, pour the beer, listen to the bees and enjoy the sunlight.  Wear a big floppy sunhat, make it straw based if you can, and wear a pair of fashionably large sunglasses.  It's that kind of beer.

An unusual sensation...

With a title like that you'd be forgiven for thinking the worst!

As you've probably gathered there has been stuff going on at this end.  Mainly I've been working on an evening but then there was last night and... well, I'll give all that its own post rather than clouding this one.

I've always been a sucker for faux Norse-ness and
so this fits the bill.  I never needed coffee though.
I'm not at all certain what emotion I'm feeling, save for the fact that I can at least pin down the idea of having a positive feeling to it.  I'm not saying I'm cock-a-hoop but I am saying it's not something that concerns or worries me.  Maybe it should?  No, that will be saved for over-analysis at another point, I'm sure, but, for now, I think I can put it on the positive side of the scale and have done with it.  Oh, get on with it!

So, my 'other' blog, the literary one.  I've been posting more in there lately because it's coming up time for NaNoWriMo and I'm intending to do it again.  Last time was in 2010 and it was a singularly unsatisfying experience.  Tilly was depressed, my job was being difficult (keep in mind the storm hadn't started at that point) and I ended up junking the whole exercise about three days in.  It seemed silly to even try last year.  But, mainly at Tilly's urging, I've decided to have another go this year.  Save for the fact that I have few ideas about how to develop anything that I've thought of I am reasonably excited about it and looking forward to it all getting going on Thursday.  It may make posts here even more infrequent than they have been of late.

This is that picture.  I loved it so much that I made
it my profile picture.  It originally featured where
the corsetted woman now resides in my second
ever post too.  It's a very nice picture, but it's not
anything like me.
Anyway, I digress.  I started posting over at my literary blog about writing.  Short stuff, fairly innocuous, and it was short enough to share to Google+.  So I did.  I then got added to a huge circle of Nanowrimos, which I, of course, added to my own circles.  Then everything went mental.  I went from having about 7 people on my feed to about 300.  Most of these people knew me only from the nanowrimo circle.  So it was that one of them mistook me for a bona fide female and my profile picture as a genuine representation of me.  And they called me 'sexy'.

I think it says something to say that I actually felt genuinely complimented.  The starvation diet of compliments, on physical or otherwise, that I've been on since around 2008 means that any morsel like that gets seized upon by my brain.  Let's leave out the fact that a. I'm not female and b. the profile picture doesn't resemble me in any way or even c. the fact that this stranger was male or d. on Google+ or even the fact that e. he wasn't being terribly serious, it was a public joking about.  I am, in fact, that sad.

I'm not even sure what that all means.  I think it's positive though, and here has been too much about moaning, so I shall record it.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Weekend

I decided to NaNo in November over the weekend.  Tilly prevailed upon me that I needed to do something that was fun, that I would enjoy and that would get me out of the rut that I seem to put myself in around this time of year.  I think she makes a compelling argument.

We went to visit my father and his wife on the weekend too, went down on the Saturday.  It was nice to see them, they doted over the children (she has something that's wrong healthwise and is worried that it's punishment for having an abortion to not have a child that my father reckoned was to spare my brother and I the ordeal of having half-siblings before we were ready - if we're being honest, my brother and I would have found it strange but... we probably wouldn't have been all that bothered).  We did many wholesome things: walked to the shop; went blackberry picking; went to a couple of parks; baked some blackberry muffins; carved a pumpkin (so it was early) and then the kiddies went to bed.  We had a nice meal, discussed politics and then retired to bed.

My father is worried about my mental state, he asked Tilly about how I was, and is concerned.  But, bless him, he has no idea how best to show it.

We then went to a farm and the boy held an owl - something he was absolutely made up about.

Now it's work again, hence the lack of posting on here, and NaNo will no doubt eat my time too.  Hmm, babbling.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A question

Short post this evening.  Just a quick context and a question.

This is the one.  Both children love the
scene where Elizabeth falls off the cliff
at the beginning.
Came home from work, which is still fraught and shitty, to find the Boy in a ballet costume.  He'd demanded to wear it, apparently, and was very happy with it.  While Tilly and the Girlie went to actual ballet, the Boy was keen to twirl and show me the costume before settling to watch steam trains with me on the internet.  He refused, point-blank, to have it taken off then or before bed and only consented just now because he was too hot to sleep.

There was also an argument twixt Boy and Girlie earlier in the day about who would play Elizabeth Swann in their game (Tilly introduced them to a heavily edited version of Pirates of the Carribean earlier in the month - first scene, then Jack Sparrow's arrival in Port Royal, optional sword-fight with Will Turner; then the ship chase scene 'til the Interceptor explodes, optional island scene 'til rescue and finally the last scene where, and I quote Girlie, "Jack Sparrow doesn't have his head cut off" until the credits - our children are addicted).  The Boy was adamant that he was Elizabeth and Girlie was Sparrow or "Commadore" (Girlie thinks that's Norrington's first name).

Why is it okay for the Boy to behave like this but not me?

Or, more broadly, why does society seem happy to tolerate cross-dressing in boys that are very young (the Boy is just past two) but not adult males?  (And I've made the distinction as loose as I can there, as ages for either differ wildly between different social groups)

Sunday, 14 October 2012


I've been intending to comment on other peoples' blogs and update on here for a few days now.  But the evenings have been filled.  On Friday the Boy napped during the day for four hours, if you can believe it, and so he was up until 10pm with us downstairs and then took until midnight to get to sleep.  This meant that I got no work done, Boy entertaining means no chance of doing any marking, nor did I get to pootle on the net - midnight is a tad too late for my standards.  Not to worry, thought I, Tilly was out last night with friends and so once the children were off to bed I would get a few hours to do some marking plus a bonus hour online.  Au contraire, the Boy nodded off for forty-five minutes on my watch and I was unable to rouse him.  So, Tilly left just before 7pm and the Boy remained awake and in need of constant input until 9pm, when I attempted to get him to sleep.  Sometime around 10.30pm he dropped off, whereupon I decided it was too late to work.

Not to worry, thought I, for tomorrow is Sunday and I shall simply get up a couple of hours earlier than normal and get some marking done then.  Au contraire, the Boy decided that I was a security blanket at around 6am and so I wasn't able to move without waking him until 7.30am.  I could have got up then, I know, but he would have got up with me and, to be honest, being with the Boy since 3.45pm on Friday nigh on constantly has made me realise that I am a bad parent and that I need some time off from the Boy.

Turnsd out I'm too bloody lazy to mark anyway.  Which is why I'm on here.

Work-wise, there was a brief meeting with my Boss on Friday.  She was nice enough but showed me some statistics that independently confirmed my worst fear: I'm not good at my job at all.  They concerned progress, that is, how many of the students that I tutor get the grades they would get in the top 15% of educational establishments based on their postcode and results at the end of Key Stage 2.  My stats were almost a grade adrift on average and, in the worst case, over a grade and a half adrift.  Basically, if you have me to take you through the examination system you will likely enjoy the lessons but you will also underperform your peers, and indeed your other subjects, by at least a grade.  This means I am as bad a teacher as I feared, something I've been dimly aware of since 2008/9.  I've been trying to fix this problem since then.  The fact that I still have this problem means two things: a. I still have it (duh) and b. I'm unlikely to be able to fix it.

I've always maintained that I am in my job because God put me there.  Basically, I'm not cut out for educating and messed up a whole bunch of things from start to finish but I somehow managed to get into the training programme and get a job at the end of it.  On the weekend away at Whitby there were some lecture-y study things that I went to a couple of.  Here we were told about Moses and how he was chosen for some tasks despite being feareful that he wasn't cut out for the job.  The point was made that as he had been chosen it wasn't really his decision to say he would be shit at things - the all-seeing, all-knowing ruler of the universe had a different, and much better informed, opinion.  Obviously, the message from this was that if you were called to do something then you could be confident, despite what you felt your failings were, that you would be able to do it well enough and for all the right reasons.

This did not have the desired effect with me.  Given that I already started from the premise that I was called to teach and since I already believed that this meant I would have to work through my failings because that was the plan you'd think I'd be receptive.  But, for whatever reason, I still have the same failings that I did when I started in my job.  If anything, these problems and failings have multiplied and got worse - I have not lost any of the issues that I had when I started (I can still rub students up the wrong way, for example) and I have gained more besides (lack of organisation, poor examination performance, poor people-management skills, poor time-management, basic laziness, poor time-keeping).  Also, since 2009, I have questioned whether or not I am still called to the profession in which I labour.

Yeah, downbeat introspection, from me: who'd've thunk?

I did reward myself though on Friday morning, I was up early (close enough 5am) and so wore my skirt, boots and a top.  Okay, I wore my dressing gown over the top because it was cold, but it felt lovely and nice.  I liked being able to walk about the kitchen as I did the pots and I loved the feeling on my calves and thighs provided by the arch.  I don't think I can adequately explain why that felt nice, nor why it felt more comfortable wearing a skirt rather than my shorts.  The top was another welter of difficult to descibe emotions - I loved the straps on my shoulders and the tight feeling around my chest.  I don't know why.  It felt snug, it felt... like being held I guess.  It felt completely unlike anything I own in my more masculine clothing.  It's not like I wear baggy clothes or anything but they never seem to hold me the same way.  All of it meant that I left for work that morning feeling a little better about life and my ability to do things.  So much so that I actually managed to get a bit done in my free period before the meeting.  Even the meeting itself didn't fill me with dread until the thirty seconds between my Boss sitting down and the meeting beginning.  Of course, I wasn't dressed at that point, I'd changed before going for a shower that morning.  I doubt very much that dressing would change my underlying statistical performance.

I can make excuses about that, of course, I wouldn't be an educator if I couldn't.  One student in the lowest performing set was predicted the top grade and had never worked above a C grade (so four grades worse) since he had started the examination years.  That's why he was in the bottom set with me rather than the top set.  He, alone, accounts for a quarter grade under-performance for every student in my set.  Then there was the girl predicted a B who failed to attend lessons, refused point-blank to do her coursework and didn't revise who got an E, accounting for another quarter grade per student.  Or the other girl predicted an A who decided, and I kid ye not, that her hair was more important than the subject but less important than English or Maths.  So, despite being disciplined and coerced by both current and old Boss never did anything in lessons.  She got a D too, so just shy of another quarter grade per student in the set.  Or the student who was rendered ill for eight months and so didn't attend any lessons, predicted a B and achieved a D (which was quite something, I might add).  That's an eighth of a grade per student.  So, remove those students, and I get a rating of around 0.7 below target.  It's still shit, but not as bad as 1.53 below target.

But these are excuses.  Excuses.  Excuses don't wash.  Nor should they wash.  The fact remains that these students underperformed, that I did not intervene effectively.  In my class you are likely to enjoy the lesson but you are not likely to achieve anything like your potential.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A short history of the aftermath

Whitby, the archetypical seaside town of the
North and the Goth capital of England.
I know how to play these games.  So, I've been concerned over not really being involved in my Church lately, you know, not going and not talking to people there who I used to count as friends when I do go.  Instant solving of that, obviously, was to go on a weekend retreat with the people from Church!  Yes, of course.  It was in a lovely place, Whitby, and there are some nice people.  But we were very late in saying we'd go (like, the week beforehand) and so there wasn't a great deal of time to factor in the idea of two small children being there.  As a consequence there wasn't really anything organised for them.  I attended some Bible study sessions and Tilly was left holding the kiddliwinks because the youth workers wouldn't look after our eldest.  Our Church is, apparently, very inclusive and moreso than other places.  This upset Tilly and so, in turn, I got upset too.  She pointed out that I was upset and that this was why she hadn't really wanted to go.  This, in turn, made me feel even worse.  I don't recover well from things like that.

Barn dancing, UK style, this is not the one that my Girlie was
at, but you get the idea.
We then went into Whitby for the afternoon, which was nice enough.  Whitby is a nice place, and there are so many things there that I would love to have access to.  I offered to buy something for Tilly's birthday.  She had but to name it.  Tilly liked many things there but did not take me up on my offer.  We went to the beach, the abbey being up too many steps after walking into Whitby for us to safely go with the Girlie.  Both of them enjoyed it, even Tilly mellowed a little.  We spent that evening with Tilly and Girlie going to the Church group barn dance, which they both thoroughly enjoyed, and the Boy and I in the room.  He went to sleep, I got bored.  Girlie and Tilly returned late and exhausted but happy.

Sunday we went to Whitby again so the children could play on a park we'd seen.  They enjoyed it, I was tired and bored, as is usual, and they were both too tired to really play on it.  Though they did enjoy it.  We then attended our church group's communion service, which overran, and then left later than planned, near 4pm.  I drove us back home, Tilly and I had some takeaway, and the children were bundled off to bed.  Girlie woke to be sick from all the travelling and then I was back at work.  Everyone else slept in.  The joys of home schooling I guess.

Monday was a school trip.  I hate organising school trips, I hate running them and I hate the stress for making sure everyone is accounted for.  Don't get me wrong, I love where we went and I love the tour that I get to give to help the students with coursework.  But I do not enjoy the whole thing about trips.  It comes from one I ran about six years ago now where the students were badly behaved (they got us banned from the place by managing to deface some displays with marker pen and swearing at members of the public) and one managed to shatter his pelvis.  Turned out he had brittle bone disease, that the school had not been told, and that he was running in an area with clear signage saying not to run after having been told by two members of school staff to not enter the area he was running in.  He was airlifted to a hospital and we had to send a member of staff with him, then we had to... Oh, you get the idea.  Since then I hate trips.  So, stressful Monday.  Then I had a meeting as part of my role at work, being watched by my boss, I hated that too.

Monday evening was fraught, I got back and was straight into looking after the Boy.  They were both very tired and Tilly needed sleep quickly.  I had a hurried tea and then the Boy took a while to get to sleep.  Indeed, he had napped at midday and so he wasn't even ready to sleep until 9pm - meaning I couldn't work nor prepare for the Tuesday.  I fell asleep and was unable to get downstairs until 10pm, I then went to bed.  Tuesday was a busy day.  Teaching all day, duties at the end of school and lunch.  Yeah, I know, get a real job.  Even so, I was shattered and then I came home to help look after the Boy while Girlie went to ballet.  Then the Boy took a while to get asleep, again, meaning no work or preparation that night too.  It was hard work.  Then Tilly and I argued.

Yesterday was another big day and we spent the evening trying to repair bridges.

Today has been long, and then there was a meeting at the end of the day and then I had to try and get things sorted for first thing tomorrow.  Which I failed to get finished.  I missed the lovely print unit people (they left at 4pm) and so much of what I need to get done is unfinished (no card you see) but even that took until 5pm.  I then had the Boy at home until 6.30pm, the Girlie until 7pm, then Boy to bed, then cooking tea.  Now too tired to work.  If I get an early night I hope to wake at 5am tomorrow.  If I do that I have planned to reward myself with a skirt, vest top and boot wearing morning.  Maybe some tights, maybe not.  I have no idea how any of this is relevant to anything, but I have reported it nevertheless.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How to be autistic...

Well, okay, maybe not exactly entirely autistic but certainly further up the scale than most activities.  I should probably explain better than that.

The Red Wedge beats the White line.  And it did.  Kolchak
became Nicholas II and General Pyrrhus stalked the aftermath.
We talked.  Tilly and I.  Well, no, we sort of shouted at each other with swear words and then talked but, we talked.  I managed to manipulate a situation where I brought up stuff, I'm good at that sort of thing, and then we had a bit of a shout.  She jumped up and down, literally, and I swore.  Before that I'd had a yell at our son because he wasn't going to sleep, got stressed about work and generally been a bit shit all round.

Work is still hard.  I've ranted about my issues about the whole damn' thing.  Wrong kind of economy to be fiddling with careers.

She cried.  We hugged.  I remain detached.  I don't do emotion.  We slept on it.  I stayed down.  She cried whilst out with the kids and friends.  I feared coming home.  It's her birthday soon.  What a present.  I think it almost matches the one a few years ago when I was told that she was so depressed that I would have to take time off work to look after our children.  I played Depeche Mode on the way into work.  I wore my boots this morning.  I enjoyed it.  I want to go out for a walk in them like I did with the shoes almost a year ago.
Let's have a Black Celebration / Tonight
I live in cycles.  Confirmation.  October is the month of me feeling depressed (apart from, you know, all the other months) and of the old urges to become hard to control again.  Or it's just because it's the anniversary of the first entries that I wrote.  I don't know.

I had reason to recall the diaries I wrote in code today.  I therefore recalled that, in them, there's stuff about cross-dressing (well, wanting to); infantilism (that I only sort of understood at the time) and there was a section on being peed on as well.  Golden showers sort of stuff.  Don't worry, I'm not going to tarry on it.  Point is... I don't know what the point is.

The autism, yes, the point of the post.

When Tilly moved in I resolved to find out what she wanted sexually and try to provide it.  We had already dropped the easy experimentation by this point, it was after the Christmas argument, and she was quite stressed out and depressed at moving in with me away from her friends and life.  It was a hard time and I am not the sort of person you go to in order to feel supported - I am one of those people who sucks support from others.  Anyway, she withdrew a little and I upped my experimentation to try and get a reaction.  As a 'joke' I ended up narrating what I was doing.  I did ridiculous things like commenting on time between starting activities and Tilly having an orgasm.  In my head I started timing the length of her orgasm and time between orgasms.  I started noting when we had sex, tracking her times of the month... Yeah, stalker much?  It is, therefore, a little unsurprising that we slowly dropped out of spontaneous sex.

I turned her down one night too, which caused massive ructions.  I'm not really what you'd call an Alpha male, in any given group of males I will take the low end of the hierarchy.  Hell, even among geeks I'm at the lower end of the scale.  If we were being nice about it we would class me as a diplomat rather than a fighter.  More realistically, I am simply fearful of others.  She wanted, and wants, me to take a little more charge - to blast through excuses to make time for romance, to woo her.

I want to be wooed.  But I'm male in a society that expects males to be the movers and shakers.  I'm basically too passive.  I'm easily discouraged (don't cross the road / you're under a spell / of broken violins) so a little dent and I'll eject, go into a corner and do something else.  If Tilly says she's busy I leave her to it.  That's why there's been little physical contact lately.

Eee, this is not well written.  I'm going to quit before I see how much I'm not ahead.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Old habits

This morning I found time to wear a night-gown given to me by Toby when we split up.  It was what I wore when sleeping round at her place a few times and was long enough to reach my ankles.  It is floaty, it has a slit up the side that finishes around my crotch, but it's on the side.  I also wore my favourite shoes.

It was wonderful.. Of course it was.  It reminded me why I kept it and why I sometimes, very few times, hanker after those early days of that doomed relationship.  I felt wonderful.  I felt unbeatable.

It brought to mind a daydream I sometimes have, I guess it counts as a fantasy.  I shall continue after the page break, it's not designed to be sexual or anything but I don't want people who don't like 'those' blogs feeling I've gone the same way.

Nothing to Fear

Long live us / the persuaded 'we' / integral / collectively
In the recent palaver surrounding Michael Wlmshaw's comments about teachers leaving their place of work at 3pm there were many people joining him in roundly condemning the entire teaching profession.  On the BBC reportage online there was a comment imploring teachers to "wake up to the real world".  And, you know what that commentator may have had a point.  Albeit not the one that he thought he'd made.
Everyone has / their own number / in this system that / we operate under
Education as it currently exists is not really meeting the challenges of the real world.  In this real world parents hand over their children to institutions where their child will join approximately 25-30 others in a room with an adult who is trained academically to... what exactly?  We judge teachers by results these days, the point of the profession is to deliver numerical targets based on attainment that is above average.  Everyone must strive to achieve the same as the top 15% of the population in the age range slightly above their own.  They are stratified and taught and guided through this system by age bracket with arbitrary distinctions made between different year groups.  And these numerical results are... what exactly?  They are Levels, created to show progression and no more.  They have no real link to any useful skills or ideas beyond vague statements created by the people tasked with making sense of them.  These do not match up to GCSE grades that, themselves, are largely more correlated with stats and normal curves within a particular set of students than anything to do with a fundamental or baseline 'standard'.  These do not match with A Level grades and these do not match to degree qualifications.  None of them match with vocational style qualifications, though they were judged by the same yardstick, and none of them take into account how anyone actually learns.
We're moving to / a situation / where your lives exist / as information
These teachers are trained to ignore the student.  Let me explain: children are individuals in many regards but they are also a collective.  They instinctively attach to people that are of different age ranges as would have existed in our distant past.  Increasingly we force them into groups of similar ages and similar experience, this makes them more malleable and pliable to the demands of society without ever actually allowing them to learn from those who make up this society.  Now, the teacher is trained to worry about outcomes, to feed them content based on a particular set of tools and to differentiate on a very narrow basis.  Even this narrow basis is arguably impossible to get right - as it is predicated on a particular style.  Furthermore, whatever age range is taught, we all naturally assume that this teacher is going to support those children as if they were their own.  This is patently ridiculous.  No one can possibly offer the kind of support we expect for the next generation in such numbers, let alone when looking toward meaningless numbers to show 'progress'.
One world / one chance / one life / one reason / all under / one sky / unchanging / one season
What, exactly, is education creating?  The system as it stands strives to train students to think critically, certainly, but in such a way as to avoid the questions that perhaps need answering.  And teachers are complicit in this, though they would claim that they aren't, by asking what they believe to be difficult questions and trying to get students to think 'outside the box' they implicitly reinforce the fact that there is a box and that this is the way students must behave to 'get ahead'.  Teachers implicitly support the notion of 'progress' and of 'wealth' by encouraging and exhorting students to do well in examinations to get the grades to get the jobs to gain their livelihoods to live a better life.  In talking about jobs and careers and wealth and responsibility and individualism the teachers reinforce a world that is created to serve the needs of the few.  They, in essence, justify their own existence.
If you've done nothing wrong / you've got nothing to fear / if you've something to hide / you shouldn't even be here / you've had your chance / now we've got the mandate / if you've changed your mind / I'm afraid it's too late
Education is thus parasitic.  It creates the conditions required for its continued existence by creating the grades that must be achieved to be respected enough to get the jobs that are, themselves, largely created by the education system that creates the society.  In the end, education perpetuates the system and increasingly causes it to multiply and mutate in a way that allows the education system to breathe, expand, and thrive.  In the process teachers feel that things need to change or need to be tweaked, but they create the conditions to allow those very people that entrust their child's development to the profession to simultaneously denigrate it and disparage it.  Those who can, do and those who can't, teach.  Now, what if we were to try and create a system whereby those who can also teach whilst doing?  That's how humankind has existed and developed for most of its history, the schism between this was created by the Industrial Revolution but the crack that was exploited to make it stick was first caused by the move to agricultural production, of all things.  Now, don't get any of this wrong, it does not imply that the nomadic and tribal way of life was superior to what we have no.  Rather it means that what we have now must be recognised for the unnatural and artificial edifice that it is and we must recognise ourselves among both the architects and the builders that keep it going.
Everything means something / yes, even our mistake / carelessness means something / no simple give and take
Much of what education has to offer has value, of course, but the way in which it is delivered is unnatural and didactic.  We claim to have active learning and we claim to be looking out for every child - every child matters - but what we actually mean by this is that academic didactism is the order of the day.  We are no more Socratic or philosophical in our society than we are genuinely altruistic.  In the early days of a child's life the child learns the most.  And the child learns by emulating and it learn in fits and starts.  What a child can do one day they may be unable to do the next and the path may double back many times before a skill is fully integrated into the set owned by the child.  There is no linear map of progress.  And, and this is the crucial part, that learning is never tested.  There are no levels or other signs of computer accessible data that can be used to measure or show that progress.  Different skills are learned by different children at different rates but there are general guidelines that are based on testable data that can be used to show that, for example, a vast majority of children are able to speak in sentences by the age of five.  Does that mean there are children who speak better and earlier?  Of course it does.  But no one seems bothered by that and nor do they attempt to make children who 'lag behind' match the attainment of those that power ahead.
You said: / "You're over-reacting / you're reading / too much into this. / If you / think this is important / your sense of / proportion is gone"
As a society we are happy to have the straight-jacket of these ridiculous notions placed on our children.  Indeed, so happy are we for this that we get angry at those entrusted with our children if those progeny fail to hit the arbitrary levels prescribed by the very same system that seems to be 'failing' them.  Look at the language!  We talk of failure as though it means something beyond the artificially created boundaries we create for our children to aspire to!  We talk of wealth accumulation and improvement as though the two were the same while paying lip-service to the idea that all people are able to develop in their own way.  What complete rot!  No one is allowed to develop in ways that are not mandated and controlled in ways that we all recognise.  Anyone that is different to what we perceive to be 'normal' is faced with the shame inducement of the whole group.  It has its roots in our nomadic and Neolithic past and it certainly served a purpose in smaller societies but now we have decided to institutionalise this trait and thus it passes from the control of small communities and into something else.  What else?  I don't know, but it would appear as though it is not healthy.  We blame government, we blame schools, we blame teachers but, in reality, it is all of us.  We condone it, we allow it and we encourage it.
You said: / "Oh, don't be so pious! / You're taking / this all the wrong way!"
I question the use of examinations.  I question our success criteria.  I question the society we are very deliberately creating and, might I add, doing so while trying to look the other way as conspicuously as we can.
Nothing to fear / nothing to fear / nothing to fear / nothing to fear / nothing to fear / nothing to fear